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ADDED ON: 07/17/2021

AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT FAILS TO PROTECT RIGHTS OF TRANS AND INTERSEX PERSONS

7/16/21 | Star Observer

The Australian government has failed to accept two of five recommendations regarding LGBTQI+ rights, following the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in Geneva earlier this year. On Thursday, July 8, in response to the review, the Australian government announced that they would commit to ensuring free and timely access to healthcare for all LGBTIQ+ people and end discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender-identity with awareness raising campaigns and training of public officials. But leading advocates have criticised the government for failing to protect the rights intersex persons after ignoring recommendations submitted by Iceland, Malta and Spain calling for an end to forced or coercive medical interventions on children with intersex variations. The government instead stated that it is the role of the courts to review all cases where surgery is not “medically necessary”. Bioethicist and Executive Director of Intersex Human Rights Australia, Morgan Carpenter, said this was “profoundly disturbing.” The government’s statement ignored the reality that these interventions are routine and doctors can carry them out without permission from the courts. Carpenter said that courts allow such requests when sought by doctors and pointed to a 2016 order where a judge “described unnecessary early surgery on a pre-school child as ‘enhancing” female genital appearance’”. The Morrison government also ignored the recommendation to remove legal hurdles that cite gender-affirming surgery as a requirement for trans people who wish to obtain identification documents that reflect their gender. As it stands, New South Wales and Queensland require trans and gender-diverse people to have gender confirmation surgery, an invasive and oftentimes financially unviable procedure, before they are able to formally update their gender status.

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